Archive for November, 2011

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

The Simpson’s take on the writer’s plight with Neil Gaiman. Funny stuff. Have a look. (Huffington Post)

If you’ve ever read Mr. Ray Bradbury’s thoughts on everyday gadgets, you might be surprised to hear he’s relented and allowed, FAHRENHEIT 451, to be released as an ebook. (PublishersMarketplace)

Quiz your knowledge of labor strikes in literature. (The Guardian)

Daniel Radcliffe (really?) to play Allen Ginsberg in the upcoming thriller, KILL YOUR DARLINGS. (

Did you know that non-Canadians can’t own bookstores in Canada? (

New and improved book tours! Now with dancing bears! Sign me up. (The Wall Street Journal)

To honor the 50th anniversary of Madeleine L’Engle’s, A WRINKLE IN TIME, her website gets a new look. (

“On this day in 1667, Jonathan Swift was born in Dublin. The exact location seems pregnant with significance: a few blocks this way was St. Patrick’s Cathedral, where Swift would be Dean; much closer that way, almost his backyard, was Dublin Castle, representing the Englishness he would both covet and skewer; the specific address, his uncle’s home at 7 Hoey’s Court, almost perfect for perhaps the most famous scoffer in literature…” (Today In Literature)

Tuesday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

“Words, words, words! They shut one off from the universe. Three quarters of the time one’s never in contact with things, only with the beastly words that stand for them.”

-Aldous Huxley



Tuesday Evening Book Reviews

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Lesley McDowell thinks Rosamund Bartlett stifled the voice of her subject in Tolstoy: A Russian Life. (The Independent)

Edmund Gordon finds the fictional Alan Partridge’s I, Patridge a much more compelling memoir than those of other contemporary comedians. (The Guardian)

Michiko Kakutani heaps the praise on John Updike’s Higher Gossip: Essays and Criticism. (NYTimes)

Kinsey Roberts goes between the covers of Hilary Duff’s newest installment in the ‘Elixir’ series, Devoted.  (The Celebrity Cafe)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

The mysterious ‘Voynich Manuscript’, written by godknowswho in godknowswhat-ese is now available online for your wide-eyed wonder or deciphering talents. (GalleyCat)

It must be strange seeing Hollywood craft a creature of your own devising from Katherine Heigl clay. Janet Evanovitch talks about Stephanie Plum on the big screen. (USA Today)

Books must be great Christmas presents, because Kindles make lousy doorstops, and Amazon just outsold Black Friday 2010 by a factor of four. (

Bankrupt Borders scrapes together a bit of cash to pay off 198 slighted employees. (

The Occupy Wall Street Library posts its Poetry Anthology online. (OWS Poetry Anthology)

The EU Prize for Literature announces its dozen winners. (The EU Observer)

India mourns the loss of Assamese author, Dr. Mamoni Raisom Goswami. RIP. (The Assam Tribune)

“On this day in 1811 a final notice appeared in the Richmond, Virginia Inquirer asking for donations in aid of the destitute young actress, Eliza Poe, and her children, two-year-old Edgar and his baby sister, Rosalie:
To the Humane heart. On this night Mrs. Poe, lingering on the bed of disease and surrounded by her children, asks your assistance and asks it perhaps for the last time. The Generosity of the Richmond Audience can need no other appeal…” (Today in Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous unpremeditated act without benefit of experience.

-Henry Miller




Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Nicholas Blincoe finds the seeds of Jack Kerouac’s fascination with travel in the “lost novel,” The Sea is my Brother. (The Telegraph)

Sonja Bolle reviews a batch of children’s books “for all ages.” (Newsday)

Deborah Solomon relishes the “highly readable” biography, Van Gogh: The Life, by Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. (NYTimes)

Allen M. Hornblum rates a batch of books on Soviet-era espionage. (Wall Street Journal)

Harvey Cox visits the intersection of faith and fun with James Martin’s Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life. (Washington Post)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The newly released – and well-received – film, MY WEEK WITH MARILYN, gets weighed against its book roots. (Entertainment Weekly)

Michael Crichton (and a ghost’s ghost writer) publish his last posthumous novel. (The Daily Mail)

Black Friday was good to the publishing industry. Hope no one was paper-cut to death or clubbed to coma with a boxed trilogy or anything… (CNBC)

‘Tis the season for ‘Best Of’ lists. Here’s 100 books that made the grade at Canada’s Globe and Mail. (The Globe and Mail)

While the Calgary Herald takes a peek over 2011′s should and then gazes at what’s ahead. (The Calgary Herald)

Literature-themed Christmas trees spruce up The Concord Museum. (

An indie bookstore gets President Obama (and Sasha and Malia’s) business this past weekend. (Fox News)

Author, Yu Hua, sits for a Q & A with New Jersey’s Star Ledger on the topic of his novels and his new collection of essays, CHINA IN TEN WORDS. (

RIP, journalist and political analyst, Tom Wicker. (The New York Times)

“On this day in 1582 William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway married, or perhaps just paid for the right to do so. As with most aspects of Shakespeare’s life, the facts are scanty, but we do know that the couple obtained a bond from the local church authorities dated November 28, 1582 allowing them to marry immediately, avoiding the normal banns procedure…” (Today in Literature)

Happy Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Jamie and I will be taking the weekend off to spend time with our families and get some writing done. We want to wish all our readers a wonderful holiday weekend, and we will resume our regular features on Monday.

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

In every author let us distinguish the man from his works.”

- Voltaire





Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Brandon Robshaw ponders the many questions in Padgett Powell’s The Interrogative Mood. (The Independent)

Catch up on the Times’ Book Review Podcast. (NYTimes)

John Banville finds Michel Schneider’s Marilyn’s Last Sessions “grimly fascinating.” (The Guardian)

Michael Taube is bowled over by Drawing Power: A Compendium of Cartoon Advertising. (Washington Post)

Toby Clements marvels at how Péter Nádas can say so little in the many pages of Parallel Stories. (The Telegraph)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

THE SOCIAL NETWORK writer, Aaron Sorkin, is inspired to pen Steve Jobs biopic. (Fox News)

While author, Mark Milian, looks to compile the Apple founder’s back and forth email exchanges in a new book. (The Washington Post)

The BBC honors Charles Dickens, on the occasion of his 200th birthday, with a run of special programmes. (

Slate Magazine takes the pulse of Haruki Murakami’s success. (Slate)

Bad sex, ahoy! Literary Review’s annual list of contenders for the worst written sex in 2011 is out for your consideration. (GalleyCat)

Occupy Wall Street gets its first book on the subject. (Reuters)

USA Today showcases its blog on romance novels. (USA Today)

Salon Magazine salutes the juxtaposition of Jonathan Franzen and Tennessee Williams and the literary legacy of St. Louis. (Salon)

RIP legendary sci-fi/fantasy writer, Anne McAffrey. (

RIP Jack Elinson, television comedy writer. (Reuters)

“On this day in 1678, “Ephelia” had her first public writing licensed by the King’s censor, thereby marking her official entry into the world of Restoration literature. The writing in question is a poem on the “Popish Plot” hysteria that was rocking the Court and all of England, but more interesting than poem or occasion is Ephelia herself… ” (Today in Literature)

Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

A Brit examines Thanksgiving via the writings of Willa Cather. (The Telegraph)

Read any good books this year? The New York Times posts its 100 Notable Books of 2011. (The New York Times)

While The Telegraph lines up its favorite memoirs of the year. (The Telegraph)

Two writers make Life Magazine’s compilation of its 75 best photos: Papa Hemingway kicking a can, and this dramatic shot of Russian dissident, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, demonstrating how freedom feels. (Life)

Penguin rethinks allowing libraries to lend its ebooks. (Forbes)

For bedtime stories and cuddle time, parents prefer paper books. (Time)

Here’s the appetizer, if you’re up for a book-banquet of Michele Bachman’s opinions. (The Daily Beast)

Have a recap, thus far, of author Michael Lewis’ perspective and his achievements. (The LA Times)

Keith Ablow, M.D., as is his best-selling habit, analyzes a criminal from afar. This time, it’s Casey Anthony. (MSNBC)

“On this day in 1962 a bi-alphabetic version of George Bernard Shaw’s Androcles and the Lion was published in England, as directed by the terms of Shaw’s will…” (Today in Literature)

Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, November 21st, 2011

“What’s madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day’s on fire! I know the purity of pure despair, my shadow pinned against a sweating wall, that place among the rocks–is it a cave, or winding path? The edge is what I have.”

- Theodore Roethke



Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Martin Chilton applauds Joe Woodward’s reminder of a talented (and too-often forgotten) writer in Alive Inside The Wreck: A Biography Of Nathanael West. (The Telegraph)

A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness is a provocative analysis of the political mind. (Wilson Quarterly)

Robert Greenfield hits the mark with his look at one of the recording industry’s giants in The Last Sultan. (NYTimes)

Dawn Raffel takes the ride in Anne Beattie’s ambitious Mrs. Nixon: A Novelist Imagines a Life. (San Francisco Chronicle)

ManOfLaBook finds Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 a little too long and a little too loose. (Blogcritics)

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Arab Spring yields a bumper crop in regional literature. (Gulf News)

Ereaders aren’t all that big in Europe. (The Wall Street Journal)

Up next: a novel from Mark Z. Danielewski in 27 installments. (The New York Times)

The rich tradition of literature-based operas is the history of the artform. And now, OF MICE AND MEN, set to music… (The Age)

Novelist, Margaret Atwood, is among the chosen for Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative (La Moda)

Author, Shehan Karunatilaka, rides the long-rolling wave of his success with his multi-prize-winning novel, CHINAMAN: THE LEGEND OF PRADEEP MATHEW. (The National)

For the book-lover on your gift list… (St. Louis Today)

Chance Solem-Pfeifer opines on strategies for sparking students to literature. (Daily Nebraskan)

Library security goes high tech. (Montgomery Advertiser)

RIP, author and playwright, Shelagh Delaney. (Macleans.CA)

“On this day in 1694 Voltaire (Francois Marie Arouet) was born. Few could have predicted his Age-defining stature, but apparently the young Voltaire showed every sign of becoming, as biographer Theodore Besterman puts it, ‘one of those over-life-size personages who seem perpetually to attract equally extraordinary events.’” (Today in Literature)

Sunday Quote of the Night

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

“You should always be trying to write a poem you are unable to write, a poem you lack the technique, the language, the courage to achieve. Otherwise you’re merely imitating yourself, going nowhere, because that’s always easiest.””

- John Berryman



Sunday Evening Book Reviews

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Charles J. Fields reveals the conflicted nature of one of 20th century America’s most notable authors in And So It Goes – Kurt Vonnegut: A Life. (The Seattle Times)

Brandon Robshaw finds Penelope Lively’s Heat Wave intense fun. (The Independent)

Liesl Schillinger takes on Don DeLillo’s first collection of short fiction, The Angel Esmerelda. (NYTimes)

Anya Groner revels in the depth of Gerald Fleming’s second poetry collection, Night of Pure Breathing. (The Rumpus)

Simon Ings dives into the compare- and- contrast exercise between the human brain and digital technology by wading into Bryan Appleyard’s The Brain is Wider Than The Sky: Why Simple Solutions Don’t Work in a Complex World. (The Guardian)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, November 20th, 2011

Baltimore’s stunning Peabody Library included among the world’s most beautiful buildings. (The Baltimore Sun)

New book by boat Captain spurs a reopening of Natalie Wood’s death investigation. (The Hollywood Reporter)

The Miami Book Fair lights up this weekend. See what we’re missing? (The Miami Herald)

The Washington Post contemplates jumping into publishing. (Poynter)

A dose of poetry from Adam Zagajewski could be just the thing. (Bookslut)

Kirkus profiles this year’s National Book Award Winners. (Kirkus Reviews)

And The Telegraph picks its Books of the Year. (The Telegraph)

“On this day in 1934, Lillian Hellman’s first play, The Children’s Hour, opened on Broadway. It was an enormous success, running for twenty-one months and beginning the string of hits — The Little Foxes, Watch on the Rhine, Toys in the Attic — that made Hellman one of the most popular playwrights in mid-century American theater…” (Today In Literature)

Saturday Quote of the Night

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

“So I should be aware of the dangers of self-consciousness, but at the same time, I’ll be plowing through the fog of all these echoes, plowing through mixed metaphors, noise, and will try to show the core, which is still there, as a core, and is valid, despite the fog. The core is the core is the core. There is always the core, that can’t be articulated. Only caricatured.”

-Dave Eggers



Saturday Evening Book Reviews

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Martin Chilton is touched by Gill Lewis’ debut novel, Sky Hawk. (The Telegraph)

Eric Arneson finds poignant and important storytelling in Cameron McWhirter’s Red Summer: The Summer of 1919 and the Awakening of Black America. (Chicago Tribune)

Kathryn Harrison is happy to report that Robert K. Massie delivered the goods in Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman. (NYTimes)

Mary McNamara delights in Diane Keaton’s memoir, Then Again. (LATimes)

Let’s Book finds J.M. Coetzee’s writing in Disgrace: A Novel “brilliant, thought-provoking, and disturbing,” even if the overall work is unsettling. (Blogcritics)